Sweating Over a Bowl of the Best Ramen in Vancouver, Canada
As you wait in a line outside Kintaro, its window facing the sidewalk fogs up, and wafts of savory soup drift into your nose. Once inside, you're greeted by the yells from the wait staff and chefs, whose heads are wrapped in thin white towels, presumably to keep them cool as the steam from numerous huge silver vats, filled with broth and noodles, warm up the joint. There's a counter, some small tables, and a "community" table at the front, where you bump elbows with fellow diners as they feast on miso, shio (salt), or shoyu (soy) ramen. Choose from light, medium, or heavy broth, or be daring and opt for the cheese ramen, which isn't for faint stomachs. The gyozas are tasty, too, as are the various toppings, from extra seaweed to boiled eggs. While the ramen is top-notch, the lively, slightly cramped restaurant itself is an experience, especially if you park yourself at the counter; the active chefs are fun to watch as they toss ingredients like pork fat and bean sprouts into woks, strainers, and cauldrons.